A Gentle Corrective for David Frum

My Son recently sent me this interesting interview with David Frum on the Rubin Report. David Rubin is a disarming sort of chap, who gives the impression of having a real interest in honest and well-rounded debate from any and all perspectives.

And this cuts close to home for me, because I sent him my Great Divide book a year ago, which he received, but so far there has been no invitation to join him on a show. I suspect that is so because my book makes a logical hash of most libertarian arguments (Rubin is a self-avowed libertarian) having to do with so-called “social issues” like abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.  So alright, I am a little jealous.

I like David. He’s a real gentleman. A sophisticated, aristocratic sort of fellow, and educated. This is an exception, as I do not think most lawyers get a solid, well-rounded education. Most of them end up with what Europeans call a “professional deformation,” meaning – a one-sided, legalistic view of the world.

I think Frum gets Trump right on the character side, and mostly wrong on the policy side.

And … I do get rankled when anyone starts off an interview trying to elucidate the difference between Americans and Canadians by saying (I’m paraphrasing): “Canada did not have slavery,” (read: like those oppressive, nasty, greedy Americans did), and then: “In Canada, we do have things like long-guns for shooting pests or hunting, but not assault rifles, and the like.”

But in FACT: Canada did have slavery. And lots of it, for its size.

By the end of the 18th century Upper Canada (now Ontario) had just under 4,000 blacks living here, of whom about 1,800 were slaves. Nine of the Senior officials in the gov’t at that time each owned a lot of slaves.

Canada, as far as I know, has never actually passed a law banning slavery outright. Upper Canada came up with a weak compromise. It banned only the “future importation” of slaves by way of “The Act Against Slavery” of July 9, 1793, in the second legislative session of Upper Canada, the colonial division of British North America that would eventually become Ontario.  It also mandated that children born henceforth to female slaves would be freed at the age of 25.

It is interesting that prior to this time, a few American States in the North had actually banned slavery outright, and so for a time there was actually a reverse “underground railroad” whereby Canadian slaves who managed to escape their owners, and reach those States, would be free, at last – from Canadian slavery!

This is a great sound-bite that you will very seldom hear,  because Canadians are self-besotted with the aggrandizing notion that they were, and still are, a morally-superior breed of citizens who would never think of owning slaves. Quite wrong.

As for firearms? Canadians do not own mostly squirrel guns, as David made it sound. Maybe that is true in the elegant, chic surround of his vacation-country, which he was describing. But it is not true of Canadians as a whole.

Canada’s national network, the CBC, has reported that as of 2015 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-s-restricted-gun-ownership-increased-9-5-per-cent-in-2015-1.3745464 ) almost 800,000 Canadians own “restricted” weapons (handguns, and weapons with “military” characteristics”), and Ontarians own almost double the number (just under 300,000) that are owned by Albertans.

So, for your cocktail-hour chat, here are the CBC numbers:

“Since 2004, the number of restricted firearms such as semi-automatic rifles and handguns in Canada has doubled.

According to the latest report of Canada’s Commissioner of Firearms, there were 795,854 restricted firearms registered to Canadian owners in 2015 compared with 384,888 in 2004.

The sharpest increase in 2015 was in Ontario, where the number of restricted firearms rose 14.8 per cent to 294,838. Ontario had nearly twice as many restricted guns as Alberta, where the total rose 7.9 per cent to 162,403. Ontario has about 12.8 million residents, to Alberta’s 3.6 million.

Since 2004, the number of restricted firearms such as semi-automatic rifles and handguns in Canada has doubled.

According to the latest report of Canada’s Commissioner of Firearms, there were 795,854 restricted firearms registered to Canadian owners in 2015 compared with 384,888 in 2004.

The sharpest increase in 2015 was in Ontario, where the number of restricted firearms rose 14.8 per cent to 294,838. Ontario had nearly twice as many restricted guns as Alberta, where the total rose 7.9 per cent to 162,403. Ontario has about 12.8 million residents, to Alberta’s 3.6 million.”

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I think it’s a shame you’re not invited to talk with these “e-celebs” because I think you could add some nuance to the political meta-discussion that has become quite boring and stagnate as of late. A lot of them are Canadians too, surprisingly, but seem largely uninterested in Canada.

    1. Thx Michael, for your kind words. I suspect my work presents problems for both modern liberals, and so-called conservatives. For the former, this is understandable. As for the latter – most of them are not true conservatives. They are mostly fiscal libertarians. Alas, truly conservative political philosophy is now just a remnant.

  2. Like Michael, above, I sure would love to see you do a lot of interviews such as with Jordan Peterson, Lauren Southern, Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder and the like. I am disappointed that none of these people seem to seek interviews with you, as you are probably the best thinker in this country.

    God bless you great Sir, and good luck with everything!

    P.S…. Please look into having your books put into audio format?

    1. Hello Jim –
      Thx for your kind words. I think what often stops them, even after they may have expressed initial interest, is they read the last part of my latest book, The Great Divide, for example, which offers some pretty tough critiques of homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia, and they don’t want to associate themselves with arguments they are unable to defeat.

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